What should I learn first when I start learning Russian?
Russian, an East Slavic language is the largest native language in Europe, which is also the most geographically widespread language in Eurasia, besides being native to the Russians in Eastern Europe. It is the official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and is used widely throughout the Caucasus, Central Asia, and to some extent in the Baltic states. Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages(one of the four living members of the East Slavic languages), and part of the larger Balto-Slavic branch. It is the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages, with over 258 million total speakers worldwide. It is also the seventh-most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the eighth-most spoken language in the world by total number of speakers. Large numbers of Russian speakers are residents of other countries like Israel and Mongolia.
What once was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution in December 1991 remains in use in an official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states. The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Russian is also the second-most widespread language on the Internet, after English.The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Russian is also the second-most widespread language on the Internet, after English. Russian is one of the official languages (or has similar status and interpretation must be provided into Russian) to, International Atomic Energy Agency, World Health Organization
International Civil Aviation Organization, UNESCO, World Intellectual Property Organization, International Telecommunication Union, World Meteorological Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, International Fund for Agricultural Development, International Criminal Court, International Monetary Fund
International Olympic Committee, Universal, Postal Union, World Bank, Commonwealth of Independent States, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, etcetera.
The Russian language is also one of two official languages aboard the International Space Station – NASA astronauts who serve alongside Russian cosmonauts usually take Russian language courses. This practice goes back to the Apollo-Soyuz mission, which first flew in 1975.
The Russian language is used on 5.9% of all websites, slightly ahead of German and far behind English (54.7%). Russian is used not only on 89.8% of .ru sites but also on 88.7% of the sites with the former Soviet Union domain .su. The websites of former Soviet Union nations also use high levels of Russian: 79.0% in Ukraine, 86.9% in Belarus, 84.0% in Kazakhstan, 79.6% in Uzbekistan, 75.9% in Kyrgyzstan and 81.8% in Tajikistan. However, Russian is the sixth-most used language on the top 1,000 sites, behind English, Chinese, French, German, and Japanese.
Russian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet, which consists of 33 letters. It distinguishes between consonant phonemes with palatal secondary articulation and those without, the so-called soft and hard sounds. Almost every consonant has a hard or a soft counterpart, and the distinction is a prominent feature of the language. Another important aspect is the reduction of unstressed vowels. The current Russian spelling follows the major reform of 1918, and the final codification of 1956. An update proposed in the late 1990s could not be formally adopted/ implemented. Stress, which is unpredictable, is not normally indicated orthographically though an optional acute accent may be used to mark stress, such as to distinguish between homographic words, for example, замо́к (zamók – a lock) and за́мок (zámok – a castle), or to indicate the proper pronunciation of uncommon words or names.
Russian is a rather homogeneous language, in dialectal variation, due to the early political centralization under Moscow’s rule, compulsory education, mass migration from rural to urban areas in the 20th century, and several other factors. The standard language is generally used in written and spoken form almost everywhere in the country, from Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg in the West to Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the East. However, despite leveling after 1900, especially in matters of vocabulary and phonetics, a number of dialects still exist in Russia.
Some linguists divide the dialects of Russian into two primary regional groupings, “Northern” and “Southern”, with Moscow lying on the zone of transition between the two, while other few divide the language into three groupings, Northern, Central (or Middle), and Southern, with Moscow lying in the Central region. All dialects are also divided into two main chronological categories: the dialects of primary formation (the territory of Muscovy roughly consists of the modern Central and Northwestern Federal districts) and secondary formation (other territories where Russian was brought by migrants from primary formation territories or adopted by the local population). Despite being recognized by dialectology within Russia, dozens of smaller-scale variants by that often display distinct and non-standard features of pronunciation, intonation, vocabulary, and grammar, are relics of ancient usage now completely discarded by the standard language.
Learning a language requires a learner to be proficient in all four parameters - reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Let's now see what you must pick first to get a good grasp of the language.
IMHO, I suggest you start by actively listening to, as many relevant audio resources you find – online, in libraries, repeatedly until the pronunciation, the accent, the pitch, the tone and the speed gets embedded in your subconscious. This will help you train your ear, identify spoken words and get you ‘in tune’ with the speech. After multiple listening episodes, take the transcript of the audio clip and read along maintaining the same pronunciation, accent, pitch, tone and speed. You could listen to Podcasts, News, Audiobooks, Russian songs, Talk Shows, Documentaries and much more!
Pimsleur, iSpeak, Michael Thomas, Living Language Drive Time Series, Berlitz are a few of the top valuable, effective and interesting audio language learning programs that will catapult your learning! In order to really understand a language, you have to practice your ability to hear it and speak it, which are exactly the skills that audio programs test you on. A few major benefits that these audio programs offer are convenience to learn at your own pace and full control of your own learning without depending on a teacher; enabling a learner to do as much or as little as they time for, a learner can choose an audio content that matches with their needs and interests, without feeling embarrassed in front of a teacher or other students. With no force to learn via boring textbook lessons, a learner is free to take risks and experiment with his way of learning by rewinding and listening to the same audio over and over again until needed (and nobody will get impatient with you). So I recommend you all Russian language learners, and start your lessons with confidence with these audio language learning programs!
With this in process, the second thing learners must learn of a language automatically becomes Speaking; Shadow what you have been hearing all along in the audio clips now with the transcript. Speak as though you delivered the original dialogues. loud and clear.
You have so far mimicked words as you heard them or from the transcript now it’s time to learn by writing Russian alphabets. Practice writing the Cyrillic alphabet. It’s not going to be easy at all, but it’s an important part of the learning! Start by learning the vowels and consonants present in the language, moving over to two-letter and three-letter words. Spend considerable time mastering it before moving on to our last stop!
Reading! Read what you are writing in the Cyrillic script after regular intervals to memorize the Cyrillic alphabets and get a grasp on the pronunciation, the accent, the pitch, the tone and the speed. Read children’s storybooks without feeling awkward. Try reading words of a Russian magazine or newspaper and keep finding new articles to read each day from a list of topics you would like to read – food/travel blog, politics/history, etcetera.
Russian is so beautiful because it sounds fantastic, not just with its phonetics but with special suffixes that make every single word cute and adorable. It has excellent handwriting. Russian is a very emotional and descriptive language that lets you express every single idea, feeling, or emotion. And finally, it’s the best key to mysterious Russian culture.
There’s an amazing new way to learn Russian! Want to see what everyone’s talking about!